The aim of this exercise is to research the difference between resin coated and fibre based paper. The overall object is to compile all testing in the research folder and to have at least one high quality print of resin coated in our portfolio.


Resin coated findings:

a paper that has been coated with polyethylene im on both sides to keep the sheet aat and reduce wash times during wet processing. Many modern ink jet photos use resin coated papers to recreate the look and feel of traditional wet processed photographic prints.

Fibre based findings:

Black & white photographic printing paper whose base is made from cotton or paper fibre or a mix of these. * Contrast with polyethylene papers which sandwich a fibre core within plastics.

According to my research 99.5% of all the photographs produced today are produced on resin coated paper. A high cotton content paper is first coated with a plastic resin. Them a light sensitive emulsion is place on top of one side. (

In a consumer guide to modern photo papers (January 2009, The Image Permanence Institute with support from Sakura of America) a brief history of photographic paper is provided, describing that papermaking was first invented in China around 105 A.D. The research paper goes on to describe photo paper characteristics in thickness, texture, surface sheen, base tint and optical (brightening agents). – for more information please refer to the research folder.


The paper goes through a four stage developmental process: namely develop, stop-develop, fix and wash. The preparation time for fibre based is twice that of the resin and requires a double bath fix and so the process of drying the paper is more complex. (For more details see the research folder). Fibre based papers produce a richer image but requires a special ‘drum’ dryer with a precise amount of heat being required. In this feature it is claimed that fibre based papers have been used as a status symbol among photographers to justify themselves as ‘artists’ as opposed to ‘shutterbugs’.


The conclusion according to the article suggests that the turn around time for a fibre based print is longer and the price is more expensive but that ultimately the photographer and therefore the client would be satisfied with either option.

Making your first black and white print:


Multigrade paper/contrast filters

Overall Conclusion:

Several new technologies for printing photographs have appeared with new photo papers being required for new technologies which have been designed to mimic the physical characteristics of the old style wet processed photos. These papers outdate the old and offer more to the user that are less complicated, more cost effective and easier to use. Commercial printers can use high speed digital printing presses with better image quality. i.e. photo books.

As a photographer, I have to be cost efficient therefore I have chosen the cheaper alternative. If my client preferred the alternative then I would need to factor that into my costs.

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